Voice of Horticulture Chair, Tania Chapman said, “The Board’s aim is to ensure that all its members are protected and have a complete grasp on all sexual harassment and bullying issues which could affect an organisation, as well as their employees and volunteers.”
She stressed that “…whilst the focus is currently on women, we should remember that it can also include males within the organisation. Our total aim should be for respect and equal opportunity regardless of age or gender.
“Whether it be directors, employees or volunteers on committee’s, we all know how difficult it is to find the right people and how sourcing volunteers can often seem impossible as most are so focussed on running their farms and businesses. Dealing with new regulations and policies is the last thing people want to do when they are working in an industry body, but policies are needed to protect these volunteers and employees so that our peak bodies can represent growers.”
Chapman said that in today’s environment; establishing an anti-harassment policy which is known, understood and enforced in an organisation should be mandatory. “Whether you are required to have a written anti-harassment policy or not, having one in place can be a valuable tool to prevent and defend against costly lawsuits.
“Remember an anti-harassment policy is only valuable if it is enforced. Having the policy in your employee or board handbook which is read, understood, and signed by every person; is a logical place to distribute this information.”
Chapman believes that for the sake of the industry, people’s welfare and reputation (and that of one's business) it’s crucial that the horticulture industry takes all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and bullying from occurring in the workplace, as well as being able to deal with it promptly and legally if it does.
The Voice of Horticulture is a member based organisation that represents horticultural growers and business across fruit, nuts, mushrooms, onions, turf, nursery plants and cut flowers.
Source: Voice of Horticulture